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An appreciation for the A-body muscle cars of the late 60s and early 70s
The GM A-body frame has underpinned many of the most storied nameplates in muscle car history. My favorite incarnations of the platform were the first- and second-generation frames, developed in 1964 and 1968, respectively, when the A-body served as a base for not only the companies most popular medium-sized coupes, but also many of the meanest rides to ever come out of the GM stable.
These RWD monsters had plenty of space for a huge engine to sit comfortably on a taut frame. It was on this platform that many car enthusiasts recognize the first real muscle car was created.
The ‘Goat’ is born, and it’s a screamer
After the limited production GTO became a blockbuster for the Pontiac label, the big brass at GM saw the potential allowing bigger engines could have in attracting increasingly speed-hungry consumers into showrooms.
A-bodies take their place as the leaders of the pack
In 1970, Chevy set the benchmark all other muscle cars would have to live up to when it dropped a massive 454ci LS6 big block V8 under the hood of the Chevelle SS – the biggest production engine ever available in a hot rod.
These coupes were popular because they offered great performance at a reasonable price. These two factors were accomplished because of the economic success of platform sharing among brands, but also, counter to that notion, strong brand identity at the time.
Friendly competition breeds a beautiful ride
This practice largely died when value-engineering came into fashion in the late 70′s, 80s and 90s. This was when sweet rides with big engines and sweet looks made way for clones like the Cavalier and Sunfire, or the Grand Am and Alero, that ultimately led to the death of some once great nameplates.
About PeteRizzoA versatile journalist and car buff whose work has been published nationally and in the New England area! View all posts by PeteRizzo →
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